On the first day of FETC, a tech conference held in Orlando each year, four celebrities of the tech world present new and interesting tech in a pre-keynote session. In this session, called the #techshare, every fun, interesting, and unusual new tech that the presenters find is shared in rapid fire delivery. It is a fast and furious fun ride and I wouldn't miss this session at FETC.
As if taking a selfie is not silly enough, now you can have your selfie on your toast. I think I need one of these to take my grill cheese sandwiches to the next level. Slide by Kathy Schrock.
I think there may be a theme here. I am looking for ways to make my daily life easier and I really can't count on my husband, who works from home, to pay attention to the crockpot. So, here is my handy solution. Another slide by Kathy Schrock.
On the way to work, I would feel very happy to find a hot pot of coffee waiting for me. I so need this. Maybe I can get the boss to fund this project---you know, to boost staff morale in the media center.
A cup that will warn me if my coffee is low. A cup that will reheat my coffee and charge my phone. You may have found this coffee-ologist's perfect present. Thank you, Kathy Schrock for this one!
I don't know why, but I just need one and I think the reason Hall Davidson gave is a good one. Pictorial documentation is a good start.
And I have lost a phone to damage at the charger connection port, so I need this. It is prescriptive! It's only nine dollars! I am ordering it right now!!! Thanks, Adam Bellow.
Well, by my count, Kathy Schrock is still holding the record for the most money taken from my wallet! Poor, sad, empty wallet! Maybe we should move FETC before Christmas and then I can say the new tech in my house and work is from Santa?
For those who know me, my library is currently undergoing a renovation. We had to pack up the library and its ancillary rooms for carpet replacement over the winter break; and now, we are in the process of deciding what stays and what goes, and what goes where. We are at the mercy of our "frugal innovative" spirits. I say we, which includes myself, 5 student aides (1 hour per day each), and two assistants on loan from the district office for 4 days. So, you may be wondering, "What could she be thinking about when asking to leave campus for three or four days to attend a technology conference?"
The answer: "The dust pan and the broom will be leaning against the wall on Monday, but FETC only happens once a year. Who would turn down the potential learning opportunities to stick around and sweep everything into order? Not this girl! I will make the most of FETC so that I can bring back ideas to meet my school's mission to serve every student in an environment of college and career readiness by delivering a rigorous curriculum and promoting a culture of no excuses. There is simply no justifiable excuse to miss this opportunity."
Here are the best reasons I can give for a media specialist to attend all 4 days of FETC and the sessions and opportunities that will meet those needs. (Please feel free to use this post as evidence when negotiating your attendance.)
Best Practices of Other Programs.
Media Specialists live and work in a bubble, the media center. The conversations and contact we have happens when someone walks into the door of our media center, on the phone or email, or on the rare occasion that we break from tradition and exit the door into the mysterious world of the school outside the media center. If you are lucky, you have a district that provides a regularly meeting PLC for media specialists, (I do in Osceola County) but this may only be once a month or once a quarter. We know we simply can't learn everything we need to know in those few stolen moments for a couple of hours 3 or 4 times a year. We need more opportunities to be exposed to learn the best practices of other professionals working in this field.
Concurrent Session: ICE: An Innovative, Collaborative, Exploratory Learning Space (CS102)
Thursday 3:20 - OCCC - North 220 D
Presented by Kathy Garneau, Library Media Specialist and Liz Williams, Technology Coach, Bannockburn School
Description: The presenters will be sharing about their brand new ICE center, which stands for Innovation, Collaboration, and Exploration.
Media Specialists are often asked to fix a technology usage problem after an implementation in the classroom has been attempted without the assistance of the media specialist and a failure has occurred. It is at this point that we are consulted for a strategy that will repair the breakdown in learning and a strategy for restarting the learning so that the instruction may move forward. (Yes, I serve as the auto mechanic of the instructional world.) So, I am happy to see the many sessions on coding, game based learning, and augmented reality. All of which, are particularly interesting to teachers in my school.
Concurrent Session: Augmented Learning: Apps to Develop Creativity and Critical Thinking
Thursday 3:20 - OCCC - North 220 D
Presented by Suzette Mirabel, Professional Counselor with Forward Learning
Description: She will be presenting about augmented reality apps in a BYOD environment!
Nearly everyday, a teacher comes into the media center and wants to use an old school technique in the classroom that can be completed with a new technological technique and FETC is providing a way to learn as much or as little as you need. From the Technology Solutions Seminars, STEM Theatre Sessions, Learning Labs and Aspire Sessions... but, truly...have you seen the sheer number of poster sessions that are being presented. Days upon days of learning, in a row, on the exhibit hall floor in one hour time slots, then changing to a whole new set of poster sessions! Wow! I simply cannot wait!
On my list are poster sessions by Nancy Penchev, Kate Tinquely, and Jared Buckner, just to name a few!
Develop a New Skill
Coding is everywhere. Everyone is hoping as educators that we don't just teach students to use technology, but to leverage technology to make changes in our world. If the learning opportunities at FETC are an indication of emphasis and you are not familiar with coding, then you really should take in one of the 4 poster sessions, 3 Microsoft sessions, 12 concurrent sessions, 2 learning lab sessions, or 2 STEM Theater sessions on coding. Wow, you could spend the whole conference just learning about coding in education!
Exposure to Trends
As a Media Specialist, I can say that I am keenly aware of new trends that are affecting education through the emails and literature that I receive, but are we embracing those trends in our own school environment? Are our students missing out or benefiting from what could be a new innovation in education, if we are paying attention? Recently, there has been a surge of affordable 3D printers made available through numerous grant opportunities and now we are seeing in sessions what teachers, tech coaches, and other media specialists are doing with this new technology.
Concurrent Session: 3D Toolkit 101: Printers, Scanners and CAD (CS003)
Thursday10:00 am - OCCC - North 220 A
Presented by Alex Hussain, Co-Founder of #D Chimera
Description: He will be presenting real-world success stories of use of 3D printers in the classroom.
Poster Session: Putting 3D Ancient History in Your Hands (PS002)
Wednesday 5:30 Poster Area 1
Presented by Mo Fisch, Avi Spodek, and Opher Yunger
Description: Using 3D printing to make history come alive.
Aspire Session: 3D Printing: You Don't Have to Be a Designer
in the MakerEd Hub
Presented by Terrence Cavanaugh and Nicholas Eastham
Description: She will be presenting about augmented reality apps in a BYOD environment!
Where in our day to day lives will we be exposed to some of the most innovative people of our time? There is simply no excuse to miss the featured speakers at FETC. Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code will be delivering the opening keynote. An opportunity to hear a person who is changing our world for the better should not be missed. Thank you FETC, for another Mighty Girl in Tech as a keynote speaker.
Informal Meet and Greet Opportunities
Sometimes, when we attend a conference we get lost in the dazzle of the big, the new, the exciting. It is the informal meet and greets, the coffee breaks, the elevator and hallway conversations that keep us grounded and reflecting on our purpose for being there. It is our opportunity to hear what is happening and what will you and others takes away from the experience. It is also a great time to share your ideas and hear the reflections of others.
See you on the Tweet Up on Wednesday at 5:30 pm and at EdTech Karaoke at Howl at the Moon on Thursday evening.
I know many media specialists who approach the exhibit hall in one of two ways, with a mission or with a plan of discovery. You know my friends with a mission. They have taken the map of the exhibit floor and have marked every booth with a giveaway, a freebie, and a prize drawing, and they are going to hit everyone in the hopes that they will take back to their school some free piece of technology, a bag full of pens, pads, stress balls, magnets, chotskies, etc., to show that they have made the most of the exhibit floor. They navigated the big hall and survived.
(Last year, my school through an attending science coach, won a coveted weather station from a local news channel to be placed at our school. So, I have to admit that it does work for some.)
The other type of media specialist explores the exhibit hall with a plan of discovery. They ignore the booths of the products that they already use other than to say a quick hello to the sales representative unless they are presenting a new innovation. They walk the lanes to find out what products are worth the investment of time and money in which to pay attention. Trust me, the vendors are listening to you. The vendors are looking for the explorers. They are looking for the media specialist who will spend five minutes listening to their demo and who will ask questions and tell them what they want out of their product. This is your chance to make clear what is missing from the products you use or want to use. Make use of the time wisely. You won't get another opportunity and you simply don't get the same experience from a catalog in the media center.
This year, our tech and I, are looking for new laptop and ipad carts. What we have needs to be replaced. Do you know a good vendor?
The Leadership Experience
Finally, attending a technology conference is a growth opportunity for any media specialist and every attendee in general. There is no need to jump into the hidden compartments of the Millenium Falcon to make your way to Orlando for FETC. Maybe there is a version of Holochess in a game based learning session? You can do, there is no try. Wear comfortable shoes and get your Starbucks before you arrive at the convention center. You will need them to cover the exhibit hall in less than 12 parsecs. Don't worry, I don't think there are any trash compactors to go diving into. No Jedi mind tricks! I have a good feeling about this!
In an era of high stakes testing, asking a teacher to give up even one class period to any new idea, much less one they view as experimental and something they don't understand can be daunting. My moment came when the reading classes were looking for an "other educational activity" to distract students after a recent practice test. These classes, if I could provide a lesson plan that related in some way to reading, would come for one hour of code.
Lesson plan dispatched. The students arrived; the lesson was introduced as a college and career exploration exercise. They would play a coding game to see if they had any aptitude or interest in the field of coding. The students were allowed to choose any one of the coding games from code.org and play.
The students were allowed to try something new that was fun and engaging without fear of failure. These low test performing students who are subjected to constant remediation were free to imagine a possible future as a coder as found in a game, in the library, without thinking about passing a test first.
Teachers were able to relax and observe their students without grading them--to observe with the opportunity to see them trying something new, engaging without fear of failure, but using failure to learn something new. The teachers were encouraging without instructing, assisting students by encouraging them to work through their failures. Genuine observations about abilities and skill sets were extracted from the experience. The teachers made notes and asked questions. Every time Elsa or Anna skated in the correct pattern after several failed attempts, there were cheers and high-fives. Pictures were taken when a student completed an entire game. These students who experience so much difficulty and their teachers were able to celebrate success.
Sketch notes on Computational Thinking
Explaining why the student/school version of Office 365 is different from the commercial/public version of Office 365 can be exhausting. Here is my sketch note solution.
I would love to hear what others think.
So, you are about to attend your first FAME Conference. You are excited! You have comfy shoes, a sweater, your personal device is charged, your business cards and stickers are ready to go in your bag with lip balm, bottle of water, and now what?
Have you taken a look at the conference session? Do you know where and who you are going to see? What will you learn?
As FAME is the only professional development conference within the state of Florida for Library Media Specialists, it is important that we make the most of our time while attending so that we can bring value back to our programs and schools. It is our opportunity to interface with vendors, network with peers, and explore our universe in a LMS friendly space. So, again…. Who are you interested in learn from and about what?
Currently, I am interested in improving my knowledge in the areas of technology usage, literacy, collection development, and overall program improvement. As I try to maximize my learning at FAME, here are the sessions that I will be attending and why:
1. Coding: Leading Our Students to Embrace This New Literacy
Kimberly Martin-Howell is not afraid to try new things and if she is true to her motto—“Fail Forward”—failing is ok as long as you try to fix your mistakes and learn from them. In her session, she will share her experience with teaching coding, resources, and her insights. I am excited to attend this session and I hope I can find 5 extra minutes to connect with her as well.
Extra Credit: read her blog post: Sparking Creativity through Coding.
2. Mine(craft)ing For Knowledge – Using Gaming to Engage Students
Elizabeth Zdrodowski, our incoming President-Elect of FAME, shares her experience with implementing Mindcraft.edu into collaborative lessons with subject area teachers.
Extra Credit: Follow her blog, or read her latest blog post for the Nerdy Book Club here.
3. One Note Revolution
The instructional technology team from Osceola County School District, Scott Kauffman, Brent Foondle, and Chris Kocher will be presenting this session on the Office 365 product, One Note. Excellent information will be presented and tailored to media specialists’ usage of this product. A must attend session.
4a. New Release Elementary Books Your Students will Love
4b. New Release Secondary Books Your Students will Love
Leslie Bermal, the representative from Junior Library Guild, will be sharing booktalks about soon-to-be released titles for fall and winter 2016. Leslie is a great book talker and I LOVE HER DOOR PRIZES because Leslie loves media specialists and books. I don’t usually recommend vendor presentations, but Leslie knows her books.
Extra Credit: Read more from Leslie here.
5. Finding the Best New Books
Debbie Tanner’s session is a must for new media specialists. Collection development is not an easy task when attempting to identify the best new books for your school’s collection. Debbie will be sharing the “how to find” tips and tricks and sharing a few ideas on how to develop a network of contacts who can help you find the best new books.
6. Have Fun and Engage Kids in Literacy
Nancy Penchev will be sharing the literacy programs that she employs at her elementary school. Her ideas and tips are easily adaptable for older audiences as well. If you are new to developing literacy events, this session is a must attend for you. I just enjoy Nancy’s enthusiasm for literacy.
Extra Credit: Read more from Nancy on her website, Technology is a Tool, Not a Learning Outcome.
7. You are right to do it! The Technology Florida Standards
Michelle Cates and David Voytek will demonstrate how to apply technology standards to library projects that are infused with technology usage, offering suggestions for software and websites for student usage. Yes, we teach in the media center and yes, we use standards. Are you showing that your program has a standards based performance?
Extra Credit: Michelle is a regular presenter of webinars on floridalibrarytraining.com, a cooperative project funded by the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Serves. Wonderful trainings offered by some of the best professionals in our field. Check it out!
Program Development and Improvement
8. Advocate for Libraries: Join the Florida Power Library Schools Family
Nancy Teger, an SLJ Mover and Shaker 2008, and a program professor for Nova Southeastern University and central figure in the development of the Florida Power Library Initiative. This session is about applying to become a Florida Power Library. She will be providing tips, insights, and examples from portfolio development to preparing for a site visit.
Extra Credit: Nancy will be available in the vendor hall at the professional development booth throughout the conference. Stop by and speak with her.
9. Making Your Library Epic: Creating Innovative Spaces for Student Learning
Diana Rendina is a person who is central in the tide of advocates for the maker space movement. She serves as a media specialist at a magnet school that employs a STEM curriculum and has transformed her media center to a space central to her school’s culture. Practical tips and inspiration.
Extra Credit: Visit Diana’s website, http://www.renovatedlearning.com
10. What Everyone Ought to Know About Managing Your Media Specialist Evaluation
Presented by yours truly…. This session which is a part of the principals’ track, but no less open to all conference attendees may change the course of your professional practice or how you are perceived by your administrator. Media specialist are often the red headed step children of the evaluation system in their county of employment. Not all counties have evaluations tailored to the LMS. Where do I fit in and how do I convey my professional practice to my administrators? The tips are here.
Extra Credit: Come visit me on the exhibition floor at the professional development booth and learn more about FAME’s Legislative Committee and Advocating for our profession.
These are my ten must attend sessions. Whatever you choose to attend, make conference attendance worth every penny and plan what you will take back to your programs.
This article was originally posted on the YALSA Blog at http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2015/05/21/advocating-for-school-libraries-a-primer/
“What? I need to do what? But what does that mean?” These are exactly the words that flashed through my mind when I attended my first annual conference and heard a keynote speaker say, “It is our responsibility to advocate for our students, our programs and our profession.” After what I consider a compulsory moment of internal panic, [inside voice: I have a new responsibility. No one told me about it. I don’t even know how! This did not happen in library school. What?] I began to calm myself. [It is a brand new day and I can do this, I think. Ok, but first, I will read the new Neal Shusterman book.]
Now, several years later, as I stare at the four stools behind my circulation desk and feel their lonely state, I now understand that is is my responsibility to advocate for my students, my program, and my profession.
AASL provides the best definition:
Advocacy is the ongoing process of building partnerships so that others will act for and with you, turning passive support into educated action for the library program.
When we advocate, we are building partnerships and educating others to act on behalf of our students and programs. I don’t know about you, but I can always use the extra help. Part of being effective is seeking the resources needed for your program. If you want help, you must ask. (It is not WWII, the volunteer generation has left the building.) Trust me, relying on the collective memories of library experiences from your stakeholders to drive them to act is a bad idea. You must share your vision in order to offer opportunities for investment.
WHAT I CAN DO NOW
1. STAY POSITIVE. No one likes to hear about the downfall of the library or your fear about losing your job or your program. This is negative branding and you let them know you are expendable. Worse, no one is comfortable, so they avoid the media center. Post your positive message where you can see it every day, the message you will share when others ask how are things are going.
Exa. “Hey, did you know the new Florida Teens Read List was just announced. So many of the books look so good! I can’t wait to read them.”
Exa. “I am just arranging the new college and career section! Isn’t it great!”
Exa. “Oh, these kids are keeping me busy, busy, busy!”
2. COLLABORATE. Stop acting like it is somebody else’s job to come find you to seek your collaboration. Email, visit, call. What they get comfortable with, they will seek out. Make teachers comfortable with your assistance.
Exa. “Oh, Mrs. Teacher, what are you working on now with your students? I would love to share some ideas with you.”
3. SHARE. With students and staff--Use a bulletin board in the media center to share information and another one on campus. With parents--Place information from your program in the school’s newsletter. If you don’t have a page on your school’s website, ask for one. With the entire community--Make your own media center website. Develop your use of Twitter and use a unique hashtag for messages from your program.
4. GIVE GOOD PROGRAMS. Good library programs grow programs. Good programs encourage us all to be excited about visiting the library or media center.
5. LEARN. Participate in webinars. Attend conference. Learn from more experienced professionals about their successful library efforts.
WHAT I CAN DO SIX MONTHS FROM NOW
6. Take your positivity to the next level. Share it with others. Join a professional association and find ways to connect with other media specialist and librarians.
7. PLAN NEW COLLABORATIONS. Find ways that your programs can add value to what is already happening in your school or community. Exa. Blood drive and book fair or blood drive and fine forgiveness program.
8. SHARE MORE. Shout out to your helpers, mentors, sponsors, and contributors in your email, your newsletter, your local newspaper, on your website, and on Twitter and Facebook.
9. PLAN AND GIVE ONE OR TWO EPIC PROGRAMS PER YEAR. Author visit, local official acts as librarian for a day, book fairs, comic con, Dia de los Muertos, etc. Let your community interests be your guide.
10. LEARN WHAT WORKS. Track your attendance and usage connected with programs. Do more of what works in your community.
WHAT I CAN DO A YEAR FROM NOW
11. POSiTIVITY FOR ALL. Write an article about something you do. Present at a conference or meeting. Speak with lawmakers about your programs and what they do for the community.
12. FIND COMMUNITY PARTNERS. From ladies club to sewing club to car club, there is a club out there that wants to be involved with your patrons. Find them and let them in.
13. SHARE THE RESULTS. Pictures are the only evidence that matters in the community. Make picture taking a part of every program, activity, and event.
14. LEARN FROM YOUR PROGRAMMING. What doesn’t work does not often have to be tossed. Survey your patrons. Maybe your just missing one small element that can change the focus.
15. LEARN something new that inspires you! Only the inspired continue to be creative and we are in the business of creativity. You don’t have to jump on every band wagon, but an occasional “ride around the park” can add a fresh perspective.
16. Share what you do and how it affects your community by advocating for libraries and the profession on National Legislative Library Days in Washington or Legislative Days in your state.
“Oh, the things that you can do…”
Below is another set of Sketchnotes on the use of Twitter as a PLN. I have to admit, I believe my training will be better after had made these sketchnotes to plan the training. Visual thinking...our students are visual.
Most people that spend any amount of time with me describe me as an extreme techno-nerd, which is funny since I cannot live without my bullet journal. A bullet journal, or bu-jo, is a journal system that has been customized by the user. It can be your calendar, your to-do list, a sketchbook, your collection of lists and projects, a general notebook, and a diary, and for most of us who use them, it will be all of the above. I love setting pen to paper and the time I spend creating on paper is the time that I spend truly thinking about everything. It is my brain dump when I need to sleep. It is the recording of everything that is happening now and what I hope to happen in the future.
Last year, I happen to be playing around on Pinterest and stumbled onto some pins from Sacha Chua's website collection of Sketchnotes. What a collection! Sketchnotes are notes that combine visual images in the form of doodles with images. The point of sketchnotes is to enhance the thinking process with "design thinking in real time through words and images to communicate ideas" (The ASIDE Blog).
I often draw when I am trying to wrap my mind around a concept. Here are my sketchnotes on developing a communication plan for my media program.
This article was originally posted on the YALSAblog at http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2015/05/26/nlld15-first-time-attendee/.
So, at some point in February, I decided that I would apply for YALSA’s travel stipend to attend #NLLD15. I was hopeful and I received the award. So, I planned my trip, contacted my state coordinator, packed my bag, and was off to Washington.
I arrived at 12:30 on Sunday at Ronald Reagan International Airport. I took Southwest and was able to get a pretty economical ticket. I found my way to the METRO station, purchased a Smart Ride Card, and hopped on the Metro toward Dupont Circle. I was on my way to the First Time Attendee Session at the ALA Washington Office.
The meeting for first time attendees was amazing. We worked on techniques for speaking with Senators and Representatives. We talked about “the ask”. I even managed to take a selfie with the presenter, Stephanie Vance.
It is that time of year where we make the decision in our professional practice to choose a new adventure. You know the one. Taking that bold leap into the abyss from classroom to concurrent session room into the conference world of presenting. You have a idea, you submit a proposal and it is accepted. Woohoo! Travel plans, hotel room, business cards, what to wear, handouts, door prizes... am I ready? Maybe...
Here are a few tips I learned along the way from other presenters to the front of the room:
ON YOUR WAY TO PRESENTING
1. Ask questions. Don't assume every conference is alike.
2. Be on top of paperwork, requests for materials, and submitting your bio. You will be more likely asked to return if you are easy to work with.
3. Be nice. No one cares if your plane was late, your phone battery dies, or if your siatica is acting up. Smile, be friendly and thank the volunteers you encounter for their time. The most important volunteer is the presider (door person) who is checking in people at the door of your session and assisting you with materials.They will also evaluate you. Were you aware?
IN YOUR SESSION
4. Speak to your audience with respect. I am likely to walk out of your session if you refer to a room of adults as boys and girls. Terms of endearment should be saved for people you know.
5. No one cares about your back story. Keep it brief. Many sessions are unsatisfying for attendees because the presenter may not manage their time well and they are unable to finish the presentation. Attendees want to know what you know now, your conclusions and solutions.
6. Provide the sound bite. Let's face it. You are presenting to a group that will go home and share what they have learned. They will post to Twitter to share with their PLN. They want to quote you. Give them something to post.
7. Give attendees an idea or ideas that they can put to good use tomorrow. Sharing a complete program is great, but ideas are more likely to be used if one can start small and build to a complete program. I may follow through with an idea if I have to wait six months to implement it.
8. Say thank you and move to the hall for questions at the end of the session. Offer your card. Set up a back channel where attendees can contact you for further questions. Just make sure you end on time. The next presenter and set of attendees would like to get into the room as soon as possible so that they may start on time.
9. Finally, take a moment to reflect on your own experience. What worked; what can you do better? Was this the conference for you? Did you enjoy presenting? What did you learn?
10. Remember to complete the followup materials for the conference planners in a timely manner. They need your input to improve the conference from year to year.
With careful planning and courtesy, your presenting experience will be a positive one. Enjoy the journey!